Here’s Where to See 100 Years of Philadelphia Fashion on Display

A museum exhibit for the sartorially savvy.

Philadelphia Fashion

A Balmain evening gown and Hattie Carnegie hat from the ’60s. | Photos by Michael J. Shepherd.

Looking for something cool to do in the coming weeks? After a successful exhibit Immortal Beauty held at the URBN Center this winter, Drexel’s world-class Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection is back at it—this time digging into the extensive archives to show us Philadelphia in Style: A Century of Fashion. The exhibition, opening Sunday, March 13, covers a dynamic 100 years of Philadelphia fashion, from small-scale seamstress creations to the rise and fall of glistening department stores. 

The new exhibition, which has been pulled from Drexel’s archives of more than 14,000 garments, features dresses, shoes, hats, and wedding gowns created and worn by Philadelphia fashion elite from 1896 to 1994. Expect to see gorgeously constructed evening gowns by Oscar de la Renta (1974) and Balmain (1958), smart suits by Chanel (1969) and Christian Dior (1948), and breezy day dresses by Henri Bendel (1915) and Philly’s own Albert Nipon (1980).

Aside from honoring styles and designers of the past, Philadelphia in Style aims to highlight the importance of our city as an American fashion stronghold—one that continues to thrive today. Being home to two of the best fashion design programs in the world, Philly continues to prove its sartorial chops.

If you want to learn more about the garments or the history of Philadelphia fashion, be sure to check out the exhibition’s accompanying lecture and film series listed here.

The Details: March 13 to June 26, The James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown. 215-340-9800.